The Chicago Snob

Lupe's Fiasco at House of Blues Chicago

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Lupe Lasers.jpg
Saturday night at House of Blues Chicago was billed as a Record Release Party concert.

After having been to Lupe's performance at the Chicago Theater on June 26, 2009, I was very excited to see Lupe again, this time at a more intimate venue, in VIP-style.

As usual, the opening performers were, in my opinion, nothing special; certainly not of Lupe's ilk.  As such, my party and I decided to relax by the fireplace in the Foundation Room, on the top floor, while sipping on cocktails, waiting for 11 o'clock to roll around (when Lupe was reportedly going to bless us with his presence).

Lupe in Concert.jpg
Eleven o'clock came and went.  By that time, three fights had erupted amongst the over-served crowd on the first level of general admission, and been broken up.

By 11:20, the crowd was booing and throwing beer cans onstage, aiming at the turntables in protest.  Admittedly, this was not a classy move on the part of the audience.  While it is perfectly acceptable to protest verbally, no one should ever resort to throwing things at the stage.  Come on, Chicago, we're better than that.

By 11:35 or so, I was growing impatient, wondering whether Lupe was going to stand us all up.  At that point, a tall, bean-pole of a man, dressed in a red soccer jersey and a hat, came onstage, mic in-hand.  As he approached center stage, he urged the crowd to "calm the fuck down."  Of course, this gentleman didn't anticipate his words only angering the audience further.  To his credit, however, he did try to rationalize the situation by informing us that Lupe was, in fact, on-premises, and that he was going to come out, but only if we calmed "the fuck down."

As if being told by someone attempting to intimidate a crowd mostly comprised of drunken, early 20-something, ignorant to consequence, urban yuppies wasn't enough to lose some P.R. points, things got worse when this gentleman allowed the crowd to get the best of him, after nearly being hit by a couple of beer cans himself.  I lost a lot of respect for Lupe and his organization when this man then turned to the crowd threatening that he was part of the Black P. Stone organization and that he was representing South Side Chicago, while daring the beer can tossers to show their faces.

Lupe Red Light.jpg
At that point, I became disgusted, not just because of the wait, but now, also because of the degradation of the situation.  This man, at once, completely undermined the whole intent and premise of Lupe Fiasco's image, what he publicly stands for, and the entire intention of the new album, LASERS.

Finally, the man left the stage, and was hopefully fired and shown the exit.

Not only that, but with every minute that passed with Lupe offstage, it seemed more and more that he was turning his back on his hometown crowd.

However, after doing some investigating, I have constructed what I believe to be a feasible explanation for the whole debacle.  Here goes:

Originally, the show was intended to be a big album release party, chalk-full of DJ's, lots of spinning, and just an all out celebration of the new album, LASERS', release, back on March 8, and Lupe was going to only come onstage for a 20-minute set.  However, it seems that along the way, the signals got crossed between the House of Blues management and whoever handles Lupe's engagements.

My guess is that the contractual agreements between Lupe Fiasco and House of Blues, were all handled by one person who failed to effectively communicate Lupe's contractual requirements to House of Blues, and vice-versa.  I'm also guessing that this person now understands that The Devil's in the details, especially when it comes to performance contracts.

Though this could explain why Lupe didn't take stage until after midnight, the end result was still a public relations nightmare.  After all, the audience isn't going to (and didn't) take issue with the venue.  They're going to (and, in fact, did) take issue with the performer that makes them wait an extra hour before taking stage.  To make matters worse, Lupe only ended up playing for about 30 minutes.

Don't get me wrong, I think Lupe Fiasco is a tremendous performer, whose music has a great message.  However, he completely fumbled a golden opportunity to provide a mind-blowing performance to his hometown crowd at one of the city's most intimate venues.  For that, Lupe, you lost major points in my book.  So much so, that I can't honestly say whether or not I will be willing to buy another album, or attend another performance.

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8 Comments

cyanyde said:

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It wasn't sponsored by 5 Gum, that was his show awhile back. This was just a "record release party" - he had zero excuse to be that late to his own show.

The Chicago Snob said:

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Agreed, the whole thing was poorly executed. Thank you for the correction.

Malcom said:

There was Melody Angel she Rocked it but then a long drought of nothing to follow!!!

dabbas346 said:

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From Lupe's twitter

LupeFiasco
The promoters didn't stress to the public the fact that it was supposed to just be a party.
half a minute ago via Mobile Web

LupeFiasco
To be clear to everyone that attended the House Of Blues Laser release thing in Chicago. It was NEVER supposed to be a show...

dabbas346 said:

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LupeFiasco
As far as me being late I literally drove about 6 hours to get there and I ran out of gas around Springfield!!!! Shout to AAA 4 the save!!!

LupeFiasco
I had NO hand in organizing the event. Nor did my team. I don't even know who the other performers were until the night before the event

dabbas346 said:

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LupeFiasco
I love my fans. I'm sorry u guys had to go thru some BS. Again me and my crew had NOTHING to do w/ how the event was ran or organized.

LupeFiasco
But anyways my name was on it so I'll take the "L" and rest assured that it will NEVER EVER happen again.

Pawelek said:

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i lost all my respect for lupe in november when i went for a meet & greet with lupe @ PHLI store in chicago. Lupe came 2 hrs late!!! every1 was being impatient & was wanting to come out. when he finally came 2 hrs late he did some Q&A for 20 min & left the place! everyone was so pissed he didnt even take pics or give autographs to any fan. i love lupes music but seriously wtf

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